Georgia Tech seeks its first road win of the season at Duke
The Week 12 edition of college football picks against the spread features a trio of games in the ACC, including Georgia Tech’s trip to Duke — where the Yellow Jackets will be looking for their first road win of the season — and Miami’s home date with Virginia. Can the Hurricanes stay hot? Here are 10 predictions for games against the spread:
Note: All games are on Saturday, Nov.18 unless otherwise noted.
Georgia Tech (-7) over Duke
Duke’s season continues to spiral out of control. The Blue Devils lost their sixth straight game, falling to Army 21–16 at West Point. This team scored 20 touchdowns in its first four games, all wins, but has seven TDs in its six-game slide. Georgia Tech bounced back from a two-game losing streak (at Clemson, at Virginia) by beating Virginia Tech 28–22 last weekend. One area of concern here: Georgia Tech is 0–4 away from Bobby Dodd Stadium. Still, the Jackets are the better team and should win this game by more than a touchdown.
Georgia Tech 34, Duke 17
Buffalo (-20.5) over Ball State (Thursday)
Buffalo’s record (4–6) might not be impressive, but the Bulls are making progress under Lance Leipold. All six of the losses have come by 10 points or fewer, including four by four or fewer. Ball State, on the other hand, is regressing. It’s a young roster hit by a ton of injuries, but the Cardinals have lost seven straight games, all but one by at least 28 points. And, more important to this space, they have failed to cover in six straight games — each of the last three with a spread of at least 25 points.
Buffalo 38, Ball State 10
SMU (+11.5) at Memphis
Memphis can secure a spot in the AAC Championship Game with a win over SMU on Saturday. The Tigers are one game up on Houston (who they beat) and two games up on Navy (who they beat) and SMU. They have won five straight overall and last week held an opponent (Tulsa) to under 26 points for the first time this season. SMU has played well in recent weeks but lost to both UCF (by seven) and Navy (by three). Are the Mustangs ready to break through and beat the best team in the AAC West on the road? Not likely — but it should be close.
Memphis 41, SMU 34
Virginia (+19.5) at Miami
There were plenty of doubters (including me) even after Miami raced out to a 7–0 record through the end of October. The reason? Four of those wins came by eight points or fewer, and the Hurricanes received some favorable bounces along the way. Now, after dominating wins over Virginia Tech and Notre Dame, it’s clear this team is very good. But we can still admit there has been a degree of good fortune that has helped Miami along the way. Forcing turnovers is a skill, to a degree. There is also some luck involved, and it’s hard to envision this team continuing to force four turnovers per game — which it has done in each of the last four. For that reason, and because it’s difficult to keep playing at such a high level, the guess here is that Miami struggles a bit with Virginia. And the Cavs are good enough to make the Canes sweat; they have wins at Boise State and at home vs. Georgia Tech on their résumé.
Miami 27, Virginia 17
Kentucky (+21.5) over Georgia
Georgia dropped its first game of the season — in decisive fashion at Auburn — but the Bulldogs still control their own destiny. Close out the regular season with wins over Kentucky and Georgia Tech and somehow find a way to beat Alabama (or Auburn) in the SEC Championship Game, and Kirby Smart’s team will be in position to play for a national title. First things first: Beating Kentucky is not a sure thing. The Cats are 7–3 overall — a record that could be even better with a defensive stop against Florida and/or Ole Miss — and are playing very well on offense. This is a good spot for Kentucky.
Georgia 37, Kentucky 24
Ole Miss (-2.5) over Texas A&M
Since stepping in for the injured Shea Patterson against LSU last month, Jordan Ta’ama has thrown for 1,246 yards while completing 73.5 percent of his attempts with seven touchdowns and two interceptions. This is still a very formidable offense that has averaged 41.3 points in the past three games. Texas A&M got back in the win column last week with a 55–14 victory over New Mexico, but the Aggies had lost their previous two league games, both at home, by 21 points to Mississippi State and 15 points to Auburn. Also, rumors are swirling that Kevin Sumlin could be let go sooner rather than later.
Ole Miss 37, Texas A&M 30
UConn (+21.5) over Boston College
Boston College’s three-game winning streak ended last weekend, but there is no shame in losing by three points at home to NC State. The Eagles, however, lost the services of starting quarterback Anthony Brown and will have to go with Darius Wade for the final two regular-season games and a likely bowl game. UConn is 3–7 and has lost three straight in the first year of Randy Edsall’s second tour of duty. The defense is an issue — the Huskies have allowed at least 37 points in each game of their losing streak — but the offense should be good enough to keep this relatively close. Boston College 30, UConn 13
Wake Forest (-1.5) over NC State
Wake Forest has scored a total of 106 points in its last two ACC games, wins over Louisville and Syracuse — not bad for a team that ranked last in the league in scoring in 2012, ’13, ’14 and ’16 and next to last in 2015. With a win over NC State, the Deacons can secure a non-losing ACC record for the first time since 2011. NC State slogged through a 17–14 win at Boston College to snap a two-game losing streak (to Notre Dame and Clemson). This is a really good team that still has to be upset it let a great opportunity slip away against Clemson two weeks ago.
Wake Forest 30, NC State 27
Wyoming (+1) over Fresno State
Wyoming has won three straight to improve to 5–1 in the Mountain West. The Cowboys, however, are a longshot to win the Mountain Division title; they are one game behind Boise State with two games to play, and they lost the head-to-head battle with the Broncos. There was some concern earlier in the week about the health of Josh Allen, but coach Craig Bohl said on Tuesday that he expects his quarterback to play on Saturday. Fresno State has cooled off a bit in recent weeks. Yes, the Bulldogs have won two straight, but those wins were over BYU (not good at football) by seven points and Hawaii (also not good at football) by 10 points. And prior to that, Fresno State lost at home to UNLV.
Wyoming 24, Fresno State 14
Colorado State (-33) over San Jose State
Colorado State has played its way out of the Mountain Division race by losing three straight, including last week’s 59–52 setback in overtime to Boise State in a game in which the Rams once led 28–3. But this is still a good team that is capable of scoring a bunch of points. San Jose State is 1–10 overall (0–10 vs. FBS teams) and has allowed more than 40 points in eight games. The Spartans lost last week at Nevada (a two-win team) by 45 points. Also, San Jose has failed to cover in eight of its last nine games.
Colorado State 48, San Jose State 10
Last Week: 3–7